Microsoft Issues Warning Against April Fool's Day Jokes

Fake News written by James Baughn on Thursday, March 31, 2005

from the lawyers-always-have-the-last-laugh dept.

REDMOND, WASHINGTON -- In a harshly worded statement, Microsoft today warned that the company would "aggressively defend its trademarks against any unauthorized April Fool's Day jokes, parodies, satires, hoaxes, lampoons, gags, japes, capers, pranks, larks, farces, wisecracks, frolics, mockeries, takeoffs, send ups, humor items, or fake news stories."

"We've had it up to here with April Fool's Day," said a Microsoft spokesperson. "This so-called holiday does not give people the right to infringe our intellectual property for humor purposes."

According to research by the Humorix Vast Spy Network(tm), the new policy was personally spearheaded by Bill Gates after he counted 413 different Microsoft hoaxes across the Internet last April 1st. We interviewed the friend of the janitor of the accountant of Bill Gates' secretary, who reported that Gates was overheard saying last year, "I'm the richest man in the world. I'm sick of trying to earn respect, I'm going to enforce respect by court order!"

As part of the anti-parody initiative, Microsoft quietly registered trademarks on every conceivable variation of its brand names, including Might-go-soft®, Microsucks®, Microhard®, Microsnot®, Winblows®, Windoze®, Losedows®, Curtains for Windows®, Internet Exploiter®, Internet Exploder®, Aieeeee!®, LookOut!®, AccessDenied®, Hexcel®, PoorPoint®, PowerPunt®, Microsoft Notwork®, .NOT®, Blue Screen of Death®, Illegal Exception®, and even Total Cost of 0wn3rship®.

"It's going to be very hard for anybody to write a Microsoft parody without violating one of our new trademarks," said a Microsoft lawyer who relocated to an office in Washington, D.C., just next door to the USPTO. "And the minute somebody tries, they will quickly find themselves staring down the barrel of my 12-page Cease & Desist letter with laser-guided subpoena."

Reaction to the new policy has been mostly indifferent. Explained one humorologist at the University of South-Central Rhode Island who is currently researching April Fool's Day meme propagation, "Microsoft jokes are so 1999. They peaked just before the anti-trust trial and have since been replaced by parodies of various Hollywood trade associations and their pet Congressmen. As usual, Microsoft is way behind the curve."

"While this does pose a serious First Amendment quandry," said one industry observer, "I don't think it will matter. After all, virus writers and spyware creators have done more to humiliate Microsoft than any fake news reporter could ever hope to achieve."

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